Las Culebrinas' expansive menu lets diners sail seas of flavor with authentic Cuban and Caribbean cuisine. Portions of grilled top sirloin and breaded steak arrive on elegant white plates with rice, beans, and delectable plantains. The tender ropa vieja presents succulent shredded beef, and the pork tenderloin is stuffed with mashed plantains, just like a traditional piñata. Two-person plates—such as paella or arroz con mariscos—require a little extra waiting time while their exquisite tastes to blend in the kitchen. Desserts arrive on plates dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with caramel.
When working in the kitchen at Savor crafting Cuban fare, chef Ariel Alvarez draws on culinary training in Havana and years of restaurant experience, including time at El Floridita, where he served former president Jimmy Carter, Giorgio Armani, and Naomi Campbell. He passes between cooks, who chop fish for ceviche and simmer cauldrons of paella, while forging a menu that adds hints of European cuisine to traditional Cuban recipes. Servers deliver platters of crab-stuffed plantains and oxtail cooked with wine and fresh herbs past photos of Cuba that ornament the walls alongside chalkboards scrawled with the daily specials.
Palomilla Grill has dished out its eponymous steaks and a range of other Cuban-style classics for nearly four decades. Ten varieties of palomillas, each made from top loin and tenderloin, include the traditional palomilla with sweet plantains and the Hurricanes palomilla, whose accompanying vegetable puree is served inside a sandbag. The menu also includes personal-sized paellas, grilled mahi-mahi, and slow-roasted baby pig shanks.
Though Chef Douglas Rodriguez's take on Latin cuisine is contemporary, he's no newcomer to the restaurant scene. SunPost Weekly credits him with propelling award-winning eateries including Wet Paint Cafe, the original Yuca, and Patria in New York to star status. At De Rodriguez Cuba, adjacent to the five-star Hilton's Bentley Beach Club, the executive chef channels his decorated career into a menu of Havana-inspired dishes and signature ceviches crafted from sustainable seafood. He steeps lobster, shrimp, and crab in the tangy notes of coconut milk, lime, and ginger for the thai coconut seafood ceviche and tops the popular vaca frita entree with avocado and tomato chimichurri. Complemented by Cuban cocktails or a sip from the large wine list, the dishes evoke images of the islands.
The eatery's decor also contributes Caribbean character, stealing the spotlight in a Miami Beach magazine piece. According to the article, "guests can sit poolside or in the lovely dining salon facing the sea," or they can set up shop at the 25-foot ceviche bar in a space "that's all dark woods and serene white curtains." Scattered palm trees and large green lounge chairs border one side of the pool, the other bank crowded with crimson-trimmed tan couches that melt seamlessly into the open dining room. The sweet notes of live music fill the age-worn slats above the bar, beside which an aquarium teems with fish like the fridge of a hibernating bear.